Working Dude Ranch Vacation? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 01-20-2019, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
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Working Dude Ranch Vacation?

My horses are at a a hunter / jumper barn, so that's what I'm learning, although I've also done bareback and western trail riding. Iíve been interested in learning how people use horses to move and work cattle for a while. I was thinking that one way to learn might be doing a vacation at a working dude ranch? Does anyone have any thoughts about this? Or recommendations? All of the dude ranches in Texas that I have talked to tell me that while they have cattle, they donít use horses to work them.

Alternately, is there anyone on this forum who works cattle in Texas (or maybe Oklahoma) and would like a completely ignorant volunteer helper for a week or so?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 19 Old 01-21-2019, 04:10 PM
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Honestly, I think you'd learn more going to a cow working clinic than a dude ranch.

I just Googled "working cow clinics in Texas" and Joe Wolter was the first to pop up. He's pretty handy.
Texas Clinics - Joe Wolter

I DON'T LEAD 'EM AND FEED 'EM, I RIDE 'EM AND SLIDE 'EM.
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post #3 of 19 Old 01-21-2019, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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But a cow working clinic, I'd need to bring my own horse, right? I feel like it would make more sense for me to go somewhere where they have horses that already know what they are supposed to do.

ETA: That place IS pretty near to where my parents live, though. Hmm....
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post #4 of 19 Old 01-21-2019, 04:57 PM
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You'd have to check. I think I've seen video of people riding their dressage horses and saddles at Buck Brannaman clinics. It could be fun to go work cows on your own horse. Just a thought.
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I DON'T LEAD 'EM AND FEED 'EM, I RIDE 'EM AND SLIDE 'EM.
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post #5 of 19 Old 01-21-2019, 05:02 PM
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Most Dude Ranches don't do much cattle work-- if they do, it's pretty basic and generally the cattle will go where you want them to with or without the horse. The one I worked at had Team Penning where all the guests had to do was get three steers in the pen (we didn't use numbers, any three steers counted), and after the first week or two, the cattle learned that a few of them should break off and run into the pen, so the guests thought they were doing all the work, but really, once those cattle saw someone approaching on a horse, three steers would head for the pen.



If you want to do an actual working vacation, there are some out there but they tend to be on working ranches, not 'dude ranches' and cater to smaller groups of people with more horse experience. Look up 'real working ranch vacations' rather than dude ranches.



A lot of local clubs off 'introduction to cattle' seminars and clinics, so that is something to look into. Most are open to horses of all breeds and disciplines, and teach you the basics of introducing your horse to the cattle, tracking steers, and how to control how the steer moves with the horse's body placement.
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post #6 of 19 Old 01-21-2019, 05:02 PM
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One day I was in my English getup, pretending I knew how to work on dressage, when everyone saddled and wanted to have cutting practice. I was saying, ďmaybe I shouldnít,Ē picturing falling right off when Bones sat down to work. I wasnít allowed out of it that easily though, and really it was fine.

My only worry would be showing your horse a cow for the first time there.

Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaamís Donkey
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post #7 of 19 Old 01-21-2019, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knave View Post
My only worry would be showing your horse a cow for the first time there.
There's actually a herd of cattle in the pasture with my horses. My pony likes bossing the cows around. He isn't mean about it, but if they are in "his" space or bothering "his" people (like me or the two mini donkeys) he will run them off. So I think he might enjoy that sort of work. But I felt like getting a feel for it myself first, on a horse that knows what it's doing, would make for a more successfuly introduction into the concept of actually moving them as work.
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post #8 of 19 Old 01-21-2019, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SilverMaple View Post
The one I worked at had Team Penning where all the guests had to do was get three steers in the pen (we didn't use numbers, any three steers counted), and after the first week or two, the cattle learned that a few of them should break off and run into the pen, so the guests thought they were doing all the work, but really, once those cattle saw someone approaching on a horse, three steers would head for the pen.


If you want to do an actual working vacation, there are some out there but they tend to be on working ranches, not 'dude ranches' and cater to smaller groups of people with more horse experience. Look up 'real working ranch vacations' rather than dude ranches.


A lot of local clubs off 'introduction to cattle' seminars and clinics, so that is something to look into. Most are open to horses of all breeds and disciplines, and teach you the basics of introducing your horse to the cattle, tracking steers, and how to control how the steer moves with the horse's body placement.
LOL I love that story. I can just imagine the cattle thinking, "Let's get this over with as soon as possible so we can go back to eating."

I will look up working ranch vacations.

I did contact a local trainer who does this sort of work and she didn't sound very interested in teaching me. But maybe an "intro to cattle" seminar would work. I wonder if people would look at me funny if I showed up in my jumping saddle, though.
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post #9 of 19 Old 01-21-2019, 05:42 PM
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^ They might look at you funny, but who cares? I took a young mare to one last fall and a friend went along with her eventing TB mare in full English garb. Everyone was welcoming and her mare did fine once she got over the "what the heck are THOSE!" moments! She did, however, borrow one of my western saddles the next time we went as her pre-teen daughter said she refused to get out of the truck if her mom showed up in an English saddle at a cattle clinic!
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post #10 of 19 Old 01-21-2019, 05:46 PM
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You can also learn a lot just by spending time around cattle on a horse. Go slow. See where you need to positioned to cause the cow to move forward, stop, turn away, etc. All of those things are learned slowly, and how they work doesn't change whether one is walking a steer down a fence or taking one down the fence at a gallop. It's easiest to learn and introduce with cattle that have been worked by a horse once or twice, but are still a little shy about it. That eliminates intimidating a worried horse with a steer that refuses to move, or getting a rank, sour heifer that has learned to charge the horse. Carry a coiled lariat rope or lead and slap it on your thigh and that will usually get a sluggish steer to move. A cowy horse will lay his ears back and bite them, which is generally frowned upon in working competitions, but is surprisingly effective in teaching cattle to respect a horse. You want soft, easily-moved cattle for a new horse. A horse used to ranch/cow/rope work will be able to move nearly anything, even if he has to bodily shove them out of the way.
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